Post Doc Position in Digital Humanities and Jewish/Biblical Studies

Catholic University of Leuven

The KU Leuven, Belgium, invites applications for a 3-year postdoc position within the European Research Council-funded project TEXTEVOLVE. This exciting interdisciplinary project will apply techniques from the biological sciences to the Targums (Jewish Aramaic paraphrases of the Hebrew Bible) in order to better understand their textual traditions. The project is based in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies.


The overall aims of the TEXTEVOLVE project are to:

  • develop a new methodology for textual studies using techniques from evolutionary biology and apply this methodology to Jewish Aramaic texts, known as the Targums; 
  • expand the corpus of available texts by recovering ‘lost’ manuscripts; and, 
  • subject recently discovered manuscripts to thorough textual analysis.

The successful candidate will contribute to these aims by applying computer-based methods from the biological sciences to textual datasets. The postdoc will contribute to realising these goals by:

  • using computer modelling to infer the relationship between the textual witnesses;  
  • integrating external data into the analysis in order to model the historical development of the texts.

The approach is experimental, requiring flexibility and creativity, while offering the successful candidate an exciting opportunity to contribute to the development of new ways of working with ancient texts.

The successful candidate will:

  • Cooperate closely with other members of the research team and with specialists from the biosciences to deliver these project's goals. 
  • Create transcriptions of Aramaic texts and analyse them using digital tools.
  • Convert textual data into machine-readable formats. 
  • Modify, and where necessary programme software to meet the specific challenges presented by textual traditions.
  • Share research results in workshops organised by the project team and at international conferences.
  • Publish research results at the highest scientific level.
  • Support the organisation of events and activities related to the project (workshops, visits from external experts, etc.).
  • Contribute to the Biblical Studies Research Unit and the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies by participating in its regular programme of academic activities (e.g. seminars) and undertaking administrative activities. 


The successful candidate will:

  • have a completed PhD in a related field (or expect to do so before the start date).
  • have experience in the use of digital tools to study texts and have a good understanding of computer programming.
  • have a good understanding of recent methodological developments in philology, text criticism, and the production of stemmata of texts. Experience of working with manuscripts would be an advantage.
  • have a strong research profile and the quality of your research is proven by publications in peer-reviewed journals or books. 
  • have strong inter-personal skills, are open to working in an interdisciplinary context, and are able to communicate well with non-specialists.
  • be willing to work in Leuven and to travel occasionally. International research experience would be an advantage. 
  • possess good organisational skills. 
  • have an excellent command of English. A good knowledge of classical Hebrew and Aramaic would be an advantage.


KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied research. It is highly inter- and multidisciplinary focused and strives for international excellence. 

You will work in Leuven, a historic, dynamic and lively city located in the heart of Belgium, within 20 minutes from Brussels, and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam.

The position begins on the 1st of September 2021. The position is available on a full-time basis, but applicants wishing to work part-time are also welcome. The contract will initially be for 1 year. This will be extended for a further 2 years (in the case of a full-time role) subject to a positive performance review. 

The project team is led by prof. dr. Hector Patmore. You will receive additional support from prof. dr. Thomas Connor (School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, UK) and prof. dr. Philippe Lemey (Department of Microbiology and Immunology, KU Leuven).


Your application should include (and be limited to) the following attachment(s):

1) a motivation letter;

2) your curriculum vitae (which should include details of the software and programming languages of which you have knowledge and experience);

3) contact details for two people who are willing to provide a reference for you;

4) your PhD certificate.

Applications must be submitted through the online application tool.

For more information, please contact prof. dr. Hector Patmore:; tel. +32 16 32 36 95. 

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

You can apply for this job no later than March 31, 2021 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijdse of deeltijdse tewerkstelling mogelijk
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: March 31, 2021
  • Tags: Theologie